Finding counselors in Atlanta.
Step by step guide for choosing counselors in Atlanta. I have worked in Atlanta for 25 years, am acquainted with many counselors, psychologists, and social workers. Please don’t hesitate to call if I am unable to meet your needs and I will identify a few prospective therapists who can help.
Step 1- Determine Client Type
1) Geriatric. Elderly persons particularly those dealing with death and dying or illness.
2) Adult. Approximately 18 or older.
3) Adolescents. Approximately age 13-18.
4) Children. Infancy to age 12 or 13.
5) Couple or family.
These are all highly specialized areas of work. When you contact a counselor or psychologist ask these questions:
1) Rather than asking do they work with children, ask what % of their work is with children. The same applies for all of the other above mentioned specialties. At least 30-50% of their work should be in that specialty.
2) Ask them to briefly describe their credentialing or training.
Step 2- Understand what makes these specialties different.
Children have different therapy goals than adults, teens and so on. Roughly speaking though not hard and fast, elderly persons’ focus will be on coping with aging. Adults will be growth-oriented. Change oriented. Are more likely to choose longer-term therapy because of those factors. Adolescents can be divided into two groups. Those who are under 18 will have unique legal issues-custody, confidentiality rights and so on. Individuals between 18 and roughly 22 in many cases cope similarly to adolescents. Both groups tend to externalize the source of their struggles. They may have difficulty understanding they are the cause of their struggles. Goals for both will be more focused on behavior change. Children have not developed all verbal skills. Therapy that is highly verbal or “talk” is often inappropriate. The goals of therapy will often be promoting behavior change through the therapist working with the parent. To teach the parent different ways of interacting with their child. Couples and Families require directive and highly interactive approaches. Of these, adult individual therapy often results in the most deep and enduring growth and change. Change the individual wants to carry through their life. Changing relationship patterns, and other personal/ professional advancement. (Counselors in Atlanta can differ than other geographical areas, but this topic is beyond the scope of this article.)
Step 3- Identify the primary problem for which you are seeking help.
Sometimes this can be difficult. It may be difficult to know. Maybe only that you feel depressed. Suggestions for further identifying your struggles include:
1) What happened during the prior week? Why do you want help now? Maybe you had an argument with a family member. Did they ask you to get help with a specific problem? Maybe you experienced an outburst or were more irritable. Maybe you were suddenly more anxious and afraid. Felt dizzy, short of breath. Tightness in your chest or fear of dying. Think back on the past 6-12 months. Have you experienced family death? Job loss? these are only examples. You may be fully aware of your needs because of prior experience with a therapist.
2)Did you receive a startling report or phone call from your child’s teacher?
3)Did you learn of ill health or terminal illness of an elder family member?
Step 4 – Begin placing phone calls
An appropriate conversation may be something like this:
“Hi, I’m John. I am looking for a counselor or social worker for my 10 year old son. I received a call from the school psychologist reporting he made threats to another student. It appears these problems began about two weeks ago when his father moved out of state. I would like to schedule an appointment. Please tell me about your experience working with children? What percentage of your practice is child therapy?”
“I’m John. I have seen a therapist previously for help with my drinking and my father’s alcohol abuse when I was a child. The therapy was helpful. I want to resume with another therapist. Can you tell me about your experience with addiction and childhood trauma? Do you work mostly with adults?” (In fact here is an excellent short book for Adult Children of Alcoholics.)
If you are satisfied with the outcome of your conversation, consider making an appointment with them. Again these are guidelines, but nonetheless an excellent starting point for finding the right therapist.
Free counselors in Atlanta and State of Georgia Mental Health Facilities. Some centers while not free, offer free walk-in evaluations.
CRISIS STABILIZATION / EMERGENCIES:
Georgia Crisis and Access Line: 1 800 715-4225 (ww.mygcal.com)
Emergency Police: 911 (ask for a CIT (Crisis Intervention Trained) officer)
United Way: 211 (211online.unitedwayatlanta.org)
NAMI National Help Line: 1 800 950-6264 (NAMI) (Mon.-Fri. 10-6) www.nami.org
Peer Support “Warm Line”: 1 888 945-1414 consumer-directed 24/7
Cobb/Douglas Crisis Stabilization Program
5400 S. Cobb Drive
Smyrna, GA 30080
404 794-4857 / www.cobbcsb.com
DeKalb CSB – DeKalb Regional Crisis Center
450 Winn Way
Decatur, GA 30030
404 892-4646 / www.dekcsb.org
MENTAL HEALTH HOSPITALS AND SERVICES:
Ridgeview Institute – 770-434-4567
Emory University Hospital Psychiatry – 404 686-6222 – www.emoryhealthcare.org
Emory Child & Adolescent Mood Program (CAMP) – www.camp-emory.com
GA Regional State Hospital/Atlanta – 404 243-2100
Anchor Hospital 770-991-6044 serves adolescents & adults
VA Medical Center (Decatur) veterans will be transported to Grady
Wesley Woods Hospital Psychiatric Unit (geriatric) 404 728-6222
Peachford Hospital (Dunwoody) 770-455-3200